Sunday, August 28, 2011

Parent-Coach Relationships Part 2: Checks and Balances

In The Beginning it is a lot of fun, isn't it? Basic Skills competitions. Small club events. Everyone supporting one another. The club stays and eats in groups. Everyone cheers for the club skaters. It is the Golden Age of skating and, yes, it holds the promise on which dreams are made. And it rides gallantly on the shoulders of young coaches who are enthusiastic, fun and energetic. It is the start of a dream come true.

But now there are the expenses. Private lessons. Club fees. Coaching fees. Competition entry fees. Music. Costumes. Choreography. Travel, hotel, meals and practice ice. Starbucks. The bills mount. The results are sporadic. There are mercurial highs and lows that seem like the Black Hole. With each success - but more with each "failure" - you strive to find an answer.
You have probably changed coaches once, maybe twice, at this  point. You've sat on the freezing cold bleachers for hours on end dissectting every nuance of the sport. You've become an expert. Maybe you've even considered becoming a coach yourself - or a judge. Yes, that's the ticket! You know so much more than any of them by now. You know the difference between a Lutz and a flip, a Salchow and a loop. You even know who Salchow is because you Googled the name. You know your skater is raising/dipping a shoulder and just straightening it out will make that single into the first ratified quad at the juvenile level. Never mind that it isn't allowed. Everyone will be in awe. You could save a lot of money by taking this all on yourself. Yes, that's the ticket. Take it all on yourself. No more paying for "unnecessary" coaching. After all, this is your kid. Who know your kid better than you?
Scary, isn't it..
The reality is that you've lost sight of reality. It is not uncommon, especially early on in the sport. You are looking at all those checks you've been writing, and you are looking at the bank balance each month. The outgo is more than the income. Spouses are starting to grumble that there isn't a vacation that doesn't involve an ice rink. You are assessing the return on investment and in your mind it is not adding up, but you are not about to quit. You've come too far at this point - even if you're only at pre preliminary. You've made the commitment. You are going to succeed. Damn the judges and coaches; full speed ahead. Your dream is waiting...
Of course, there is something standing between you and your dream of success: The interest and dedication of your skater.
(Next Up: "In This Corner..")

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